CAROLINE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Two people being held at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility in Caroline County tested positive for COVID-19 last week, ICE officials confirmed.
The facility, which currently houses 170 detainees but has the capacity for 336, last reported a positive test on July 30. Kaitlyn Pote, an ICE spokesperson, told 8News that the two who tested positive were in the Caroline County detention center and not transferred from another ICE facility.
“The health, welfare and safety of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees is one of the agency’s highest priorities,” Pote said Tuesday.
Pote added that the facility is following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and both detainees are “under medical isolation and are being monitored by medical staff.”
Gov. Ralph Northam and Virginia Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) urged President Donald J. Trump to have the CDC intervene at another immigration detention center located in Farmville, Va., where a massive coronavirus outbreak infected more than 300 detainees after a group of detainees from Arizona and Florida were transferred to Farmville. One inmate, a 72-year-old Canadian man who was on the verge of being deported, became infected and died in August.
A CDC team of clinicians, labortorians and epidemiologists arrived in Farmville in early August to conduct an assessment of the detention center with the local health department, Gov. Ralph Northam’s office said. The next day, a federal judge barred the detention center, which is run by Richmond-based Immigration Centers of America, from transferring detainees into the facility.
Despite last week’s confirmed positive tests, ICE’s online dashboard tracking COVID-19 statistics by facility shows no cases at either the Caroline Detention Facility or Immigration Centers of America-Farmville.
An ICE official with knowledge of the matter acknowledged the possibility of a “slight delay in the number of confirmed cases appearing on the ICE.gov COVID-19 webpage,” but cited protocol requiring that data be validated before being posted online. Pote told 8News on Tuesday that Farmville, which has reported 339 total COVID-19 cases, has no current positive cases out of the 184 detainees behind held at the facility.